Director of English Language Studies wins TESL Canada Innovation Award

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Julia Williams speaks at TESL Canada conferenceThe director of Renison’s English Language Studies (ELS) program, Julia Williams, has won the TESL (Teachers of English as a Second Language) Canada Innovation Award for her series of LEAP (Learning English for Academic Purposes) textbooks.

The award celebrates the innovation of English language teaching professionals who produce relevant and creative resources used in thousands of classrooms across Canada and around the world. The Innovation Awards, which were presented at the recent TESL Canada Conference in Niagara Falls, included awards for several textbook categories, with the LEAP series winning the award for the Most Innovative Textbook Series published by an International Publisher and Designed for the Canadian Market.

“These awards for textbook innovation are the first to be awarded by TESL Canada. It’s an honour to win an inaugural award that recognizes quality in materials development,” said Williams. “It takes a long time to write a high quality book--and even longer to develop a high quality series. These awards recognize the impact textbooks have on our students and in our field.”

The eight book series began with a single textbook Williams wrote in 2005, titled Learning English for Academic Purposes. The textbook was well received, leading Pearson Publishing to approach Williams to develop a full series. Between 2011 and 2013 Williams and co-author Ken Beatty published an additional seven textbooks. The series is currently into its third round of revisions and the new editions will be released in early 2018.

TESL Canada Innovation Awards symbolThe LEAP series is designed to support English language skills development at four levels of proficiency. The series covers Listening and Speaking and Reading and Writing skills through a cross-curricular approach to teaching students the vocabulary and skills they need to thrive in real-life academic contexts, while helping them apply critical thinking to a variety of global issues. 

Julia Williams is the director of English Language Studies (ELS) at Renison University College, which offers English for Multilingual Speakers (EMLS) courses to students in all faculties at the University of Waterloo. Currently teaching courses in second language acquisition, teaching methodology, and testing and assessment, Williams strives to translate second language acquisition theory into effective pedagogy and teaching materials. She is also fascinated by the interplay of theory, administration, teaching, and culture.